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Trudeau’s virtual tour and Bieber’s country music nod: In The News for Sept. 2

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of Sept. 2 …

What we are watching in Canada … 

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t letting the COVID-19 pandemic stop his usual practice of travelling to various regions of the country during the summer — he’s now just doing it virtually.

He’ll spend much of today in meetings with British Columbia political, business, environmental and academic leaders, all from the comfort of his office in Ottawa.

And he’ll do another similar virtual tour of the Atlantic provinces Thursday.

The summer is usually an opportunity for the prime minister and other federal political leaders to travel widely and engage in outreach with community leaders and voters outside the Ottawa bubble.

Among other things, Trudeau usually convenes a cabinet retreat and attends a Liberal caucus retreat outside the nation’s capital each year before Parliament resumes in the fall.

But the need to curb the spread of COVID-19 has put the kibosh on much of that in-person travel this year.

Apart from the occasional trip to Toronto, Montreal and communities near Ottawa, Trudeau has been forced to stay home — and find other ways to conduct regional outreach.

Also this …

REGINA — Saskatchewan’s health minister says the government will expand access to the life-saving antidote naloxone.

But Jim Reiter says it still hasn’t been decided how that will happen.

Like most provinces, Saskatchewan funds a take-home naloxone kit program for people at risk of an opioid overdose or of witnessing one.

The Ministry of Health says these kits are distributed at health centres and harm reduction organizations, but not community pharmacies.

The Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan says pharmacies should join the program, because they have expanded hours and are located in most areas of the province.

Jason Mercredi is the executive director of Prairie Harm Reduction in Saskatoon, and says the demand for naloxone has exploded because of a spike in overdoses.

The province’s chief coroner, Clive Weighill, says the deadly opioid fentanyl and its derivatives, mixed in with other illicit drugs, is driving the increase.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

KENOSHA, Wis. — U.S. President Donald Trump stood at the epicentre of the latest eruption over racial injustice Tuesday and came down squarely on the side of law enforcement.

He blamed “domestic terror” for the violence in Kenosha, Wis., and made no nod to the underlying cause of anger and protests — the shooting of yet another Black man by police.

Trump contended the nation could see more violence if Joe Biden is elected in November.

In Portland, Black Lives Matter protesters shifted their focus to the city’s mayor and set a small fire in the upscale building where he lives.

Police also declared a riot in Oregon’s largest city as people broke windows and vandalized a business.

The demonstration that began late Monday fell on Mayor Ted Wheeler’s 58th birthday and featured protesters with shiny golden alphabet balloons that spelled out an expletive.

Protesters sang on the street outside Wheeler’s building. He is also a police commissioner and has come under fire recently for failing to bring months of violence in Portland under control.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

PARIS — Thirteen men and a woman go on trial today over the 2015 attacks against a satirical newspaper and a kosher supermarket in Paris that marked the beginning of a wave of violence by the Islamic State group in Europe.

Seventeen people and all three gunmen died during the three days of attacks in January 2015.

Those on trial in France’s terrorism court are accused of buying weapons, cars, and helping with logistics. Most say they thought they were helping plan an ordinary crime. Three, including the only woman accused, are being tried in absentia after leaving to join Islamic State.

The attacks from Jan. 7-9, 2015, started during an editorial meeting at Charlie Hebdo, whose offices had been unmarked and guarded by police since the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed years before. Brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, gunned down 12 people before carjacking a vehicle and fleeing. They claimed the attacks in the name of al-Qaida.

Two days later, on the eve of the Jewish Sabbath, Amedy Coulibaly stormed the Hyper Cacher supermarket, killing four hostages in the name of the Islamic State group as the brothers took control of a printing office outside the French capital. The attackers died that day during near-simultaneous police raids.

It took days more for investigators to realize that Coulibaly was also responsible for the seemingly random death of a young policewoman the previous day.

It took further weeks to unravel the network of petty criminals and neighbourhood friends linking the three attackers. By then, Coulibaly’s wife had left for Syria with the help of two brothers also charged in the case. Most of the 11 who will appear insist their help in the mass killings was unwitting.

On this day in 2001 …

The Montreal subway system was shut down after an unidentified male set off a tear-gas canister inside a subway station. Fifty people were treated in hospital while another 150 were treated outside the downtown Berri-UQAM station.

Entertainment news …

Canadian pop star Justin Bieber is celebrating his first Country Music Award nominations.

Bieber crossed over onto the country charts with “10,000 Hours,” a collaboration with country stars Dan + Shay.

The song is nominated for single of the year, video of the year and event of the year, a category that honours recordings by musicians who don’t normally work together.

Miranda Lambert, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Eric Church and Keith Urban are all vying for the entertainer of the year prize, after Garth Brooks bowed out this year, saying someone else deserved the prize


New research out of Hamilton’s McMaster University suggests the migration of extinct mastodon herds to Yukon and Alaska during warm periods between ice ages could be useful in watching for signs of extinction in today’s warming climate.

The study published in the journal Nature Communications says mastodon herds that migrated north during the warm periods were less genetically diverse, which made them more vulnerable to extinction.

Grant Zazula, a Yukon government paleontologist and one of the authors of the report, says mastodons were not equipped to survive the colder climates of the ice ages, noting that these kind of populations lack the genetic diversity to help them survive these migrations.

He says the research shows mastodon herds migrated north more than once with the same disastrous results, first with the arrival of an ice age 250,000 years ago and were also wiped out by a second ice age about 100,000 years ago.

Experts say they are observing very similar travels in species like moose, snowshoe hare and beavers rapidly moving northward in response to climate warming.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 2, 2020

The Canadian Press


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